Nathan's interview with Ville


Someone called Nathan wanted to interview me for some schoolwork he had. Normally I would say no, since I'm really focused on making Driftmoon now, but he seemed like a nice person so I took the couple of minutes to answer him. This is for you Nathan.

How have advancements in technology influenced your creation of games?

Since I try to make games that run on older hardware, I mean the kind of computer our mothers generally have, I'd say technological advancements haven't affected me much. When 3D became the big thing, I used it for a couple of games, but since then it's been 2D for me. I guess Driftmoon will have a much higher polygon count than Notrium had, there's been 7 years in between the two games, but that just means I have more freedom to do the kind of vivid fantasy world I want even on your mom's computer.

What is the most satisfying aspect of creating games for you?

To me that's the creation of a new world. Sort of like when you have a dream where you're in a world of your own invention, but more concrete. I like seeing all the little funny details that make the world look lived in, and thinking what else could happen here.

The second best part is when I see people play my games in a way I never intended, or seeing people create ingenious mods I never thought could be possible. That always makes me feel there's something more to the game than just the stuff I had time to put in.

What is the least satisfying aspect of creating games for you?

That would be the part where you try to make sure the game works on every computer out there. With Driftmoon I've tried to do my utmost to make the game run on all common configurations, but every now and then there's a computer where it doesn't work and I have to spend days finding the cure. That's time away from making the real game, the world and quests and people, so it feels the least satisfying to me. But it's important, so I do it.

Why did you decide to become a game programmer?

I played a lot as a kid, I used to spend hours upon hours with various games. My brother was a big influence here, he was making small games when I was about 11. Of course I wanted to be like him, and I guess I sort of started there. It's a lot of fun, so I've been doing it ever since!

What would be the favourite game you have ever made and why?

The favourite of my own games would be Wazzal. It was a short project, only about 4 months, and the game isn't long either. But I kind of like the way it plays out, it's got the kind of feeling I wanted into the game. I'm hoping to do a sequel some day.

Where do you see the game industry in 5 years?

Ooh, predictions are always fun! Let's see... In a couple of years there will be a new generation of consoles heavily focused on downloadable games. I'm really hoping to see a cheap Chinese consoles where anyone can make games, but I don't think the time has come for those yet. But possibly the new internet connected TVs could do that without a console, Google TV for example. That could affect the whole industry, so better keep a lookout for that.

I see the PC still a viable option for gaming, with even less AAA titles but more smaller games than ever. In fact, I think the huge game titles we're seeing today will become rarer, even on consoles, as indie gaming becomes more mainstream. But I think social gaming is the key with PC, at least for the next five years. I don't see Facebook being very useful on consoles, but you should be able to play social games on both PC and mobiles. For hardcore players like me,  the idea of more FarmVille sounds terrible, but there's definitely a huge market there.

Currently the industry is dominated by the English speaking countries plus Japan and Korea. I think there will be more games from places you've never heard of making games, like India and China. I'm really looking forward to seeing their new game genres and worlds, since the Tolkienish fantasy worlds that we have are becoming quite the cliche.

I still see mobile gaming on the rise, but I don't think that will become mainstream. I just can't picture my mom playing her tetris sessions on a handheld. But there's still room for growth everywhere, especially in developing countries, as smartphones become commonplace.

And that's all I have to say about that.

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